Here’s my third update to Monster Mythology; this time I worked on Gruumsh’s son, Bahgtru. I was originally planning to do all the gods in order, but I found when working on this one that it burned me out a bit to be doing the same sort of thing, so I’m going to start skipping around. That way each one feels fresh while I’m writing it, and there will be a wider variety of options available to players and DMs earlier. Despite the issues I had with this one, I think it still turned out very well, so enjoy and let me know what you think!
Bahgtru (PDF Version)
(The Leg-Breaker, the Strong, Son of Gruumsh)
Intermediate Power of Acheron, LE
Portfolio: Strength, combat, loyalty
Domain Name: Avalas/Nishrek
Allies: Hextor, Ilneval, Luthic, Shargaas, Yurtrus
Foes: The Seldarine, the dwarf and gnome pantheons
Symbol: Broken thigh bone
Wor. Align.: LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE
Bahgtru (bog-TRUE), the orcish god of brute strength and physical combat, is incredibly stupid and unconditionally loyal to his father, Gruumsh, and his mother, Luthic. The Leg-Breaker prizes nothing more than strength, and scorns those who rely on weapons, armor, and magic to defeat opponents. Unlike gods of physical prowess in many other pantheons, Bahgtru has little interest in athletic feats of strength or contests such as wrestling, at least in so far as following regulated rules and such are concerned. His only interests and passions are the use of physical power to crush foes and win battles. He constantly searches for challenges to overcome, be they legendary beasts or other gods renowned for their strength.
Bahgtru is feared by most of the powers in the orcish pantheon, and Gruumsh uses that to maintain his own power and control. The Leg-Breaker trusts his parents completely and unquestioningly. He does whatever they ask of him, regardless of the danger to himself (which is not usually significant due to his strength), and he faces challenges directly and unsubtly. Bahgtru does not particularly like the other orcish deities, as he finds them weak and generally cowardly, but he will not take any action against them without Gruumsh One-Eye’s express permission or an overt act of aggression against Gruumsh or Luthic. Any such actions are unlikely, however, specifically because the other orcish powers, particularly Ilneval, fear Bahgtru’s great power and unconditional loyalty to Gruumsh. As such, One-Eye uses the Leg-Breaker to keep his power cemented with himself. Due to their differing views on the nature of victory through combat, the Leg-Breaker despises Ilneval’s constant thinking and strategizing; true warriors face enemies head on in Bahgtru’s opinion. Of the other two orcish deities, Bahgtru is revolted by Yurtrus and fears his powers of death and disease, while he considers the sneaky tactics of Shargaas to be the mark of a true coward. The Leg-Breaker knows little of the patron of the scro, Dukagsh, and has not been told by Gruumsh how to deal with him.
For the most part, the Leg-Breaker is not smart enough to have complex rivalries with other deities or pantheons; he generally hates who Gruumsh tells him to hate and tries to crush whomever Gruumsh tells him to crush. Like all orc powers, he hates the Seldarine and the Seelie Court; he considers them weak and cowardly for using magic in battle. He respects the strength of the dwarven powers, but sees that simply as a greater challenge when the time comes to crush their skulls. He holds a strong antipathy towards the deities of the goblins, but only acts against them on One-Eye’s direct orders. In particular, he is itching for a rematch against the “peace-loving” Bargrivyek since their last battle was cut short by their superiors. He also maintains a strong loathing for Khurgorbaeyag after a confrontation was left inconclusive when the Overseer received assistance from Hruggek, patron of the bugbears.
Myths surrounding Bahgtru are, more often than not, unique to each tribe. They frequently follow a similar formula, however. Typically, these stories present a situation in which Gruumsh cannot overcome an obstacle, until he calls upon his son to take care of it. The most common obstacles are great beasts or monsters that must be killed, or a great stone or tree that needs to be moved to save the rest of the orc gods (frequently the work of dwarven or elven gods). These stories reinforce the dogma of strength and loyalty, while also subtly portraying the rest of the pantheon as helpless without the Leg-Breaker’s strength. There is one myth that is universally known to all followers of Bahgtru, which explains the origin of his symbol. This myth is often combined with the previous type of myth to create a larger story. The primary element of this myth revolves around Bahgtru’s encounter and subsequent battle with a great multi-legged reptilian beast. Most often it is said to be the first behir, but the type of creature will sometimes reflect local fauna types (dragons are common in lands that have never seen a behir). The battle between the two combatants lasts many days and rages across the land, until Bahgtru begins breaking the beasts legs, one at a time, slowly immobilizing it. He then crushes the beast’s spine and presents the body to his father as a trophy, earning him the name “Leg-Breaker.” Due to the prevalence of this myth, it is clear it has a basis in an actual event, although no definitive location for it has been found as yet.
Bahgtru does not send his avatars to the Prime Material plane on his own; he does not have the initiative for that. However, he will send them wherever Gruumsh or Luthic tell him to, so the appearance of his avatar is a far more common sight than either of theirs. Most often, his avatar is sent to lead a great orc horde against other civilized races, although occasionally he will be sent to defend orcish tribes against threats from elven and dwarven retaliation.
Bahgtru’s Avatar (Fighter 35)
Bahgtru appears as an enormous orc with bulging muscles. His nearly hairless skin is a dirty tan in color, and the tusks that protrude from his lower jaw are sharp and white from constant bone-gnawing. His dull green eyes show little intelligence, curiosity, or cunning.
AC 0; MV 9; HP 222; THAC0 −10; #AT 3/1*
Dmg 2d12 + 14 (fists, +12 Str, +2 spec. bonus in punching)
MR 20%; SZ H (16 feet)
Str 24, Dex 10, Con 22, Int 5, Wis 5, Cha 19
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
* Includes extra unarmed specialization attack.
Special Att/Def: Bahgtru eschews all weapons in combat other than his huge gauntleted fists. His studded leather gauntlets are not magical, but for the purposes of what he can hit, they count as +4 weapons due to his great strength. If he manages to hit a target with both of his fist attacks in the same round, he can grapple and crush his opponent for an additional 3d12+12 points of damage. The Leg-Breaker always wears studded leather armor +2.
Bahgtru is unaffected by any strength draining effects (such as ray of enfeeblement, etc.) and any magic which directly reduces his hit or damage rolls (chant, prayer, etc.). No magic can reduce or eliminate damage caused by his blows (stoneskin, etc.).
Bahgtru does not send omens or messages to his followers very often; he is generally not subtle enough or thoughtful enough to do so. Unfortunately for his priests, his rare messages are neither subtle nor informative, so it can be very difficult to interpret what he wants. These omens always take the form of an excruciating headache, that is referred to as “Bahgtru’s Pat” by his followers.
The Leg-Breaker does not often work through servitor creatures; when he does, it is usually through creatures of great brute strength, such as carnivorous apes, cave bears, ettins, hill giants, maelephants, ogres, oxen, reaves, and yeti.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans, fighters
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, F: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: Yes, F: No
All clerics (including multiclassed fighter/clerics), shamans, and specialty priests of Bahgtru receive religion (orc) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Clerics, fighter/clerics, and fighters are required to become proficient in the use of studded leather gauntlets by the time they achieve fifth level and shamans are not allowed to use any other weapon, regardless of their level. All priests of Bahgtru are required to have at least a 13 Strength and no more than a 12 in their Intelligence score. None of the clergy are allowed to wear armor better than studded leather, nor may they use shields.
The church of the Leg-Breaker constantly strives to dominate their tribes through brute force and intimidation, and convert any nearby tribes to their powerful god, provided they aren’t already following Gruumsh. They are also required to be utterly loyal to the current tribal chief; however, that only lasts until the chief is defeated by a stronger warrior, at which point loyalty immediately shifts to the victor. After all, strength and power are the only true measures of the right to rule. All but the smallest tribes will have at least one priest or shaman of Bahgtru; they serve as bodyguards or battle champions of the clan’s chief. In tribes dominated by One-Eye’s priests, the Leg-Breaker’s followers are subservient to Gruumsh’s priests and function as bodyguards. They will never do anything to betray the tribal chief or the priests of He Who Watches, and when there is an obvious conflict of interest, they usually stand aside and let it work itself out. They also will not interfere in any challenge of combat against a chief, as that would violate their beliefs on the right to rulership.
The Bahgtruan clergy never build temples, although they do usually set up a small shrine and altar at the sites of famous or legendary single combat, such as between two rival orc chiefs, when they are near their village or encampment. Otherwise, they usually hold services in the center of the village so all orcs can see their power for themselves. On the rare occasions One-Eye’s priests build temples, they will always set up a small sub-temple for Bahgtru’s clergy to use; often in the least desired place available.
Novices in the service of Bahgtru are called Fingerbreakers. Full priests are called Legbreakers. The clergy’s hierarchy is not rigid, and fluctuates frequently as seniority is based on the strongest creature a priest has defeated single-handedly. As such, titles are usually based on said creature, so it is not uncommon to see priests called by such titles as “Manticore Crusher” or “Owlbear Smasher.” In situations where two priests have slain the same type of creature, a quick contest of strength is held, usually involving breaking logs or knocking over trees or boulders. Specialty priests are called bonecrushers. The Leg-Breaker’s clergy is composed of mostly orcs (50%) and orogs (30%), with smaller numbers of half-orcs (10%), ogrillons, ogres, and scro (10%). The priesthood has a very strong prejudice against the “weak females,” so none are ever allowed to join the clergy. Bahgtru’s clergy contains specialty priests (45%), fighter/clerics (24%), clerics (22%), and fighters (9%). Shamans are not part of the clerical hierarchy, although they are considered brothers of the faith.
Dogma: The right to rule is based on physical strength. Nothing pleases the Leg-Breaker more than crushing foes with your bare hands. Scorn the use of shields and heavy armor; your own physical prowess is all the protection you need. Crafty thoughts undermine the strength of the tribe. Loyalty to the clan chief is required, for he has proven he has the strength to lead.
Day-to-Day Activities: Like Gruumsh, Bahgtru requires frequent sacrifices, preferably weekly, with the various priests performing the simple rites on a rotating basis. Victims are secured to a small altar, and the priest then breaks each of the sacrifice’s limbs. If the victim is still alive, the priest then ritually breaks their neck. Preferred sacrifices are elves, intelligent reptilians, and behir. However, the clergy are not terribly picky, and they have no qualms about sacrificing weak or sickly members of the tribe when no other victims are available. The Leg-Breaker’s clergy are also battle-leaders, although their favored (and usually only) tactic is direct charges. They don’t care for complex strategies, viewing them as tools of cowards and weaklings, used to cheat the strong out of their proper victory. The physical training of young members of the tribe often falls to the priesthood, who use extremely rigorous regimes to make the next generations as strong as possible. They also maintain their physical conditioning through constant strength and endurance training. During ceremonies and religious events, they tell frequent stories about great battles and combats which always have blunt morality statements that reinforce the dogma of the church.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once a month, at the peak of the full moon, the Leg-Breaker’s clergy holds the Festival of the Strong. Orcs compete to be proven the strongest warrior and earn the title Favored of the Leg-Breaker. Most competitions involve feats of pure strength, such as knocking down trees and crushing rocks, as well as free-form unarmed combat and wrestling. These latter events have been known to be lethal; Bahgtran followers consider this a natural winnowing of the weaker elements of the tribe.
Major Centers of Worship: Bahgtran holy sites tend to be located at the sites of great battles; however, these tend to only be relevant to local tribes. The Leg-Breaker’s priests are always on the lookout for the site of Bahgtru’s defeat of the great behir-like creature from legend. If found, it would likely become the destination of widespread pilgrimages as well as the first independently constructed Bahgtran temple.
Affiliated Orders: The only order within the clergy of the Leg-Breaker is called the Fists of Bahgtru. They work with both the clergies of Bahgtru and Gruumsh, acting as assault troops during major battles and elite guards of chieftains and priests at other times. The Fists are comprised primarily of fighters, fighter/clerics, and specialty priests. The Fists exist everywhere Bahgtru is worshipped, although smaller tribes rarely have more than two, with one usually being a younger warrior being trained to join the order. In any combat situation, the Fists will always be at the forefront of an assault on the opposing side. When not directly engaged in combat, they lead the guard contingents within the orc clans with complete loyalty to the current chief.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb of the Bahgtran clergy consists primarily of black studded leather armor and black studded leather gauntlets. In addition to their armor, they usually wear tokens and trophies from their victims, such as teeth, ears, and broken bones. Colors worn tend to be dark greens, blues, and blacks. Individual priests and clergies vary their accoutrements based on their clan preference as well.
Adventuring Garb: As they are not allowed to wear any armor better than studded leather, and as the ceremonial garb of the Leg-Breaker’s priests is practical and utilitarian, it tends to be their everyday garb as well. The priests prefer using their own fists in combat, but on occasions they use other weapons, they prefer clubs and heavy maces.
Specialty Priests (Bonecrushers)
Requirements: Strength 16, Constitution 12, Wisdom 9, Intelligence 8 or less
Prime Req.: Strength, Wisdom
Weapons: Any, but see below
Armor: Any up to studded leather, no shields
Major Spheres: All, combat, healing (reversed forms only), protection, summoning, war
Minor Spheres: Elemental earth, elemental fire
Magical Items: Same as clerics and fighters
Req. Profs: Studded leather gauntlet (weapon proficiency, by 5th level), close-quarter fighting or natural fighting or wild fighting (choose one)
Bonus Profs: Intimidation (Strength-based version)
- Bonecrushers must have orcish blood. Most bonecrushers are orcs or orogs, but half-orcs, scro, and ogrillons may all become bonecrushers.
- Bonecrushers are not allowed to multiclass.
- Bonecrushers receive Constitution hit point adjustments to their Hit Dice as if they were warriors.
- Bonecrushers may take any proficiency that has Strength as its relevant ability at no penalty.
- Bonecrushers may make two attacks per round when attacking with studded leather gauntlets; alternately, if the rules for unarmed combat in the Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics are used, bonecrushers are considered to be specialists in pummeling attacks, with all the bonuses and penalties that come with it.
- Bonecrushers cast all spells from the Combat sphere as if they were two levels higher.
- Once per day, bonecrushers can cast strength (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) upon themselves; they are affected as if they were warriors and can gain exceptional Strength.
- At 3rd level, bonecrushers can cast enlarge (as the 1st-level wizard spell) upon themselves once per day. They can cast it an additional time for every three levels gained beyond 3rd (i.e. twice at 6th, three times at 9th, etc.).
- At 5th level, bonecrushers deal 1d6 points of damage with their fists when wearing studded leather gauntlets. At this point, they may use no other weapons.
- At 7th level, a bonecrusher’s Strength score is raised to 18, and exceptional Strength is rolled. If they already have a Strength of 18, exceptional Strength is rolled and an additional 10% is added to the score.
- At 10th level, bonecrushers can incite a berserker rage in themselves and up to one other follower of Bahgtru for every five levels (two additional followers at 10th, three at 15th, etc.) once per day. The rage lasts for 10 rounds. During this time, the recipients have a +4 bonus to attack, damage, and all saving throws, but a −4 penalty to AC. The berserker rage lasts a full 10 rounds. If recipients run out of enemies to fight, they must attack the closest living target in the area (even an ally). They will never attack anyone wearing the symbols of either Gruumsh or Luthic under any circumstance.
- At 15th level, bonecrushers can cast fist of Bahgtru (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per week.
Bahgtru’s Grapple (Pr 2; Alteration)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 2 rds. + 1 rd./2 levels
Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
This spell allows a crushing grapple attack if the caster succeeds with two unarmed attacks against a single foe. Only creatures of a similar size can be grappled in this manner; they must be no more than 50% taller or shorter than the priest. If successfully grappled, the creature takes 2d4 points of crushing damage plus Strength bonus in that round, and every round thereafter unless the spell ends, the priest is killed, or the grapple is broken. To break the grapple, a creature must make a bend bars/lift gates roll (if not rated for Strength, use 5% per Hit Die); one such attempt is allowed each round. While grappled, a creature can make melee attacks against the caster, but with a −2 penalty, and receive no bonuses due to high Strength.
The material component for this spell is a hollow fired-ceramic object that the priest crushes at the time of casting. Such objects must be made by the priest or the spell fails, although proficiency in pottery is not necessary to create the object.
Bahgtru’s Pummel (Pr 3; Alteration)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
By means of this spell, a priest can dramatically increase the number of unarmed attacks he can make. When enchanted with Bahgtru’s pummel, the priest can make three times the number of unarmed attacks per round; however, he is unable to attack more than one foe per round. If his current enemy is slain before he makes all of his attacks, the rest of the attacks for that round are lost. This spell supersedes any other spell or magical effect that grants additional attacks, such as haste, ending them for the caster immediately or causing them to be ineffective. Spells such as slow will still affect the priest, however. Upon the expiration of this spell, the priest is exhausted and must rest for the same number of rounds as the spell’s duration.
The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol and a giant insect’s wing.
Strength of Bahgtru (Pr 5; Alteration)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
By casting this spell, the priest can empower himself with superhuman strength. Unlike the 2nd-level strength spell, strength of Bahgtru allows the caster of the spell to ignore race or class restrictions on his maximum Strength score, possibly reaching scores as high as 25. The priest gains 1d8+4 points in his Strength score, counting each percentile bracket of exceptional strength as one point; the Strength gain proceeds as 18, 18/01, 18/51, 18/76, 18/91, 18/00, 19, and so on.
Despite not being a warrior, the priest gains all the benefits of an exceptional Strength category; for example, if a priest with a Strength of 16 gained 7 points, he would possess a Strength of 18/00 for the duration of the spell. In addition to the attack and damage bonus, increased chance to open doors or bend bars, and increased carrying capacity, the spell recipient may temporarily gain the ability to throw boulders as a giant of equivalent Strength (see table).
Strength Equivalent Rock Hurling
Score Giant Type Range Damage
19 Hill giant 80 yds. 1d6
20 Stone giant 100 yds. 1d8
21 Frost giant 100 yds. 1d8
22 Fire giant 120 yds. 1d8
23 Cloud giant 140 yds. 1d10
24 Storm giant 160 yds. 1d12
25 Titan 200 yds. 1d20
When the spell ends, the caster is struck by intense exhaustion, and can do nothing except rest for 1d3 full turns. The material component is a handful of powdered bone or a chunk of raw flesh from a giant.
Fist of Bahgtru (Pr 6; Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 6 rds.
Casting Time: 9
Area of Effect: The caster’s arm
Saving Throw: None
This spell temporarily augments the might and hardness of one of the caster’s arms, encasing it in an invisible field of force and raising its Strength to 22. The caster’s muscles and joints are magically bolstered so they are not torn when blows from the fist of Bahgtru land. Such blows can punch through armor and stone alike, striking at a +4 attack bonus, dealing 1d4+10 points of damage, and forcing saving throws vs. crushing blow on all items they hit.
The material component of a fist of Bahgtru spell are the death, at the hands of the priest, of six hit dice worth of elves or intelligent reptilian creatures within one hour prior to the casting of the spell. These creatures do not have to be killed in combat, although doing so doubles the duration of the spell.